#CJReform: For My People Perish for a Lack of Knowledge — Let’s STAYWOKE
Note: Due to the urgent nature of the #SAVEDEMITRIUS Organize For campaign, this writer is very intentional in writing an article empowering the 1 in 3 Americans touched by incarceration to confidently RiseUp.
Kudos to Ms. Tia Sumner, mother of Demitrius Manderfield, for expeditiously coordinating an Organize For petition on behalf of her son who is currently in custody at the Milan Federal Correctional Facility in Milan, Michigan.
Excerpt from #SAVEDEMITRIUS petition:
Demitrius Manderfield is being tortured in a Michigan jail and may potentially die if he does not receive help. Demitrius is 20-years-old and is suffering from the painful and chronic illness sickle beta thalassemia. He has not been convicted of any crime, yet has been caged behind bars for three months now. To make matters worse, he’s jailed at Midland Federal Correctional Facility and they have been denying him access to proper healthcare for three months now. His judge, Judith Levy, promised that she would release him for treatment if his medical needs weren’t being met in jail. But it’s been weeks and nothing has been done. His health is steadily declining and his family desperately needs your help.
For those of you who may not be aware of the Organize For petition, you can find detailed information and sign the petition by clicking here #SAVEDEMITRIUS.
While reading the summary of events outlined in the Organize For petition, as reported by Demitrius’ mother, Tia Sumner, I first read the summary for informational purposes. My second read, I examined the summary for what had not been pursued or done on behalf of Demitrius.
In this world, we have “rights” and “responsibilities”. More specifically, in situations such as Demitrius, Demetrius has “rights” and the Milan Federal Correctional Facility has “responsibilities”.
Ms. Sumner, if your are reading this, your hands are not tied and I want you to be encouraged in knowing (knowledge) there are organizations you can reach out to for additional information, direction, guidance and resources (knowledge) to assist Demitrius in accessing the medical services and treatment he has a right to under the 8th Amendment and the facility is responsible for providing. For additional information go to: https://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=36353
Additional resources you may or may not be familiar with include the National Commission on Correctional Health Care based in Chicago, IL. The NCCHC sets Standards for the delivery of healthcare services in correctional facilities and is widely recognized. Also, NCCHC operates a voluntary correctional facility accreditation program based on its Standards and is the only accrediting body authorized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that focuses on corrections. The process uses external peer review to determine whether correctional institutions meet the standards in provision of health services.
When calling NCCHC request the accreditation status of the Milan Federal Correctional Facility (https://www.bop.gov/locations/institutions/mil/). In otherwords, is the facility accreditated or not. If accreditated, find out what are NCCHC’s expectations of facilities in order to maintain accreditation status.
Another great correctional facility-based contact is the Correctional Health Care Administrator. An additional NCCHC inquiry you will want to make is to find out the name of the Correctional Health Care Administrator for Milan Federal Correctional Facility for the purposes of calling and/or writing to ascertain the health care status of Demitrius.
The typical responsibilities of the Correctional Health Care Administrator include the following:
TYPICAL FUNCTIONS (Varies from facility to facility):
- Administers an institution, community correction, or work camp health care delivery program; ensures compliance with departmental policy and procedures; supervises and directs the activities of employees in the medial unit which includes, but is not limited to, doctors, pharmacists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, emergency medical technicians and medical records technicians.
- Recruits, orientates and trains health service employees; evaluates and counsels personnel; determines assignments and working schedules for staff; develops policies and guidelines for office management and program operation.
- Coordinates the delivery of all levels of health care to inmates; serves as liaison between health services, security and central office; responsible for the detection, control and management of infectious diseases; responsible for all correspondence directed to health services; assures that correspondence, health records, reports and other records conform to prescribed standards; ensures that all required reports are submitted.
- Initiates, plans and directs comprehensive studies of major health problems affecting inmates and initiates recommendations and actions for meeting these problems; cooperates with public and private agencies in the delivery of health care to inmates.
- Advises and recommends to the Medical Services Administrator, Warden and Staff Physician changes on policies, practices and security requirements relating to the health services area.
- Manages the budget and coordinates the purchasing of supplies and equipment for the clinic; arranges equipment repairs; processes and forwards all hospital and physician charges incurred from outside sources.
- Oversees compliance with American Correctional Association (ACA) standards; maintains required documentation for ACA accreditation.
- Reviews inmate’s medical conditions; coordinates inmate moves; reviews medical records.
- Conducts sanitation inspections of living areas, food service areas and health clinic.
- Assists in institutional investigations as requested.
Secondly, another resource is the Michigan P&A (Protection and Advocacy) Office. In every state, the Governor has appointed a state protection and advocacy office. The Network of P&A Systems are federally-funded and congressionally mandated to advocate on behalf of individuals with disabilities in public and private facilities which includes correctional facilities (e.g., jail, prisons, etc.). When checking MI P&A’s website, the landing page indicates “Coming Soon - Criminal Justice.” Get on their radar!
When reaching out to the Michigan P&A Office, request to speak with an I&R (Information/Referral) Specialist. The I&R Specialist will, more than likely, conduct an initial phone-interview to obtain critical case information. Prior to calling, make sure you gather all of your notes, documents and records so you are prepared to adequately answer questions asked of you.
Ms. Sumner you may want to mention the #SAVEDEMITRIUS Organize For petition with NCCHC and the MI P&A to demonstrate the magnitude of support and ground-level effort behind and for Demitrius with 74,744 signatures as of this writing.
SHARE THE KNOWLEDGE — IT’S POWER! #StayOnTheWall Ms. Sumner!
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this article, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.
About the Author:
L. Elaine Sutton is the Vice President of Operations for Dynasty Television Radio Network (St. Louis, MO) and the Executive Producer/Host of the Justice Beat: Let’s Talk Smart! Radio Show. Her career in the justice/disability space spans 25 years with professional tenures at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC — GA); Georgia P&A Office (GA); National Disability Rights Network (DC); Single Parent Alliance and Resoursce Center (GA) and Syracuse University (GA/NY).
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